24 May Networking Gives Teens an Edge
Networking Can Be Fun
I believe that high school students should learn to network. For us parents it has been the drumbeat for many years now; networking is the best way to find a job. LinkedIn has created a billion dollar business from it and if you go to Amazon you will find hundreds of networking books. My favorites are How to work a Room and The Two Minute Networker. Recently I have read a number of articles and posts including a few on LinkedIn* about the need for high school and college students to learn to network.
As it sometimes happens, out of the blue I received an email announcing a networking event at the San Jose Earthquakes soccer facility. The pull was the opportunity to network with local sports executives. I thought this would be a great opportunity for our son, Philip who is a high school junior to learn networking skills, meet some sports executives (his plans are to major in Sport Management) and maybe create several connections for his future. With the opportunity to watch the Earthquakes after the networking event, I convinced Philip to attend.
What To Do at a Networking Event
Once we got there I started introducing Philip to the executives. As a golfer, Philip was taught early on the importance of a strong handshake and how to introduce ones self to others in the foursome. With a bit of prodding, Philip continued to introduce himself to about a dozen executives. He asked for some advice, and then traded business cards with them. It was a great experience for him and I highly suggest that you consider introducing your teen to networking. Find an event that your teen might have an interest in and make the first few introductions. After that stand back and smile; you will be surprised what kids are capable of. Buffy Filippell the CEO of Teamwork Online Networking Events who sponsored the event explained that networking provides you the green light to boast. Boast about your success, your accomplishments, and your stats.
Parallels to College Visits?
When visiting colleges or universities students should understand that there is much to parallel the networking experience. Just as a job applicant tells a prospective employer his or her best business success, high school students should always be prepared to speak about their best successes and understand that these are occasions to boast and they should. So how does a high school student describe success?
- Did you ever start a fundraising or community service project? Can you explain your goals and how you met them?
- Were you captain of your sports team? What did you personally do to help the team?
- Did you win awards? What awards did you win and why?
- Are you an athlete? Do you know your stats? What can you say to convince a coach he needs you? What do you bring to the team?
Shaking Hands, a New Experience For Teens
When our children were young we used to tell them not to talk to strangers. As a teen headed to college or to work, they need to learn how to talk to strangers. So think about helping them reach out and shake hands with a stranger. Not any stranger, but a stranger who might help their education or career. Whether at a networking event where they might meet executives or people in fields they are interested in or college fair events or even school events, teach them to introduce themselves by clearing stating their name, the fact that they are a high school student, and their best success(es). You and your teen will be glad you did.